Travelling is sometimes a challenge for people living with physical disabilities as you wonder how you will get there, if the hotel is accessible, how much money will be used for transport and if the destination you chose will be unbearably tiring for you. All this put into consideration may make one shun going for vacations or holidays with their family, in favor of the more comfortable options. Travelling doesn’t have to be a headache for you since gradually, the service industry has become more accommodative of people with disabilities. There are some tips, however, that you might find useful in planning for vacation or holiday. As per certified travelling and disabilities experts.
Research on the accommodations, if you wish to stay in a hotel, ask as many questions as you can about the accessibility of its amenities. You can ask how wide the doors of the lifts (or elevators are) as some are not wide enough for a wheelchair.
Book Hotels Wisely after doing your research, ensure that the hotel you are going does not disappoint you. It is human for the hotel to lie about its accessibility, as for some of them want profits. Thus you should really ask before going.
Choose the Right Destination this is important as some destinations are completely inaccessible to wheelchairs and or crutches. It also should have accessibility to basic facilities and should be at least nearer to your place of visit. The right destination should be centrally laced, in that, you can access the hospital (or clinic in case of complications), the supermarket or easily get transport from.
Plan on transport around your destination, since you will require to get around using an accessible vehicle, and one that carry your assistive device, you will have to liaise with either your contact person there, maybe a relative or an agent or even a taxi company to help you get options in vehicles.
With that, one should not shun to travel, but instead embrace it, and most importantly, enjoy it!
What is charity? The Merriam Webster Dictionary describes it as: Benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity, as generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering or aid given to those in need and an institution engaged in relief of the poor or public provision for the relief of the needy. These definitions all filter to one thing, pity.
Charities emerged as a way that the church could help the needy in the society. Most of these charity groups are run by abled people and their purpose is to voluntary help by providing for, educating and caring for those in society who are deemed "needy" in this case those with disabilities. These abled people running the charities either have disabled family, friend, colleague or for humanitarian purposes.
The charity model of disability portrays disability as a burden or a condition that needs to be constantly aided. This focus has made many to forget the rights of people with disabilities. Tom Shakespeare (a popular British sociologist) said that, "Charity is way for individuals and society to avoid their obligation to remove social barriers and support needy members of the community".
According people with disabilities their rights is the best way to help them. The CRPD was a milestone as most countries signed and assented the provisions within it. Aspects of diversity and inclusiveness were center stage with all sectors being urged to be inclusive through having facilities and infrastructure that is aware of all disabilities. If disability rights were observed, then there will be no need for charity
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
“Leaving no one behind, beginning with the furthest first.”
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) came up with a set of objectives in 2001 to tackle the indignity of poverty and they were known as the Millennium Development Goals. However in 2012, the Sustainable Development Goals were born in Rio and their objective was to produce a set of universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing our world.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is inclusive of disability and has produced goals that are inclusive of disability. They include;
Goal 4 Guaranteeing equal and accessible education by building inclusive learning environments and providing the needed assistance for persons with disabilities.
Goal 8 Promoting inclusive economic growth, full and productive employment allowing persons with disabilities to fully access the job market.
Goal 10 Emphasizing the social, economic and political inclusion of persons with disabilities
Goal 11 Creating accessible cities and water resources, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems, providing universal access to safe, inclusive, accessible and green public spaces.
Goal 17 Underlining the importance of data collection and monitoring of the SDGs, emphasis on disability disaggregated data.
The upcoming CEDAW* country reports are an important part of this conversation as it has brought about the aspect of multiple discrimination faced by women with disabilities. It has also brought about challenges in accessing medical care, inclusive education, sexual and reproductive health rights and most of all, a legislative and political voice.
How far have we gone as a country in addressing these issues? Sadly, not where we should be. A lot has been overlooked by both the policy makers and average mwananchi. The five SDGs on disability need to be the blue print for our national development in order to align ourselves with the 2030 Development Agenda.
*Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women
10th October is a day that marks World Mental Health day. This year's theme is Mental Health in the Workplace. According to the World Health Organization; more than 300 million people suffer from depression, the leading cause of disability, more than 260 million are living with anxiety disorders. Many of these people live with both.
What are these mental health and disorders? They include; ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Dissociative Disorders, Early Psychosis and Psychosis, Eating Disorders, Obsessive-compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, Schizophrenia and other related Conditions. They are a mouthful! That is the reason they go unnoticed. It is estimated that about half of mental health conditions begin by age 14, and 75% of mental health conditions develop by age 24.
How is this related to disability? Well, disability is a term that can be loosely defined as ‘restriction of ability caused by a condition’, which, in this case is a mental disorder. People suffering from depression often harbor thoughts of harming themselves, some going as far as trying to commit suicide. Failed suicide attempts give forth physical disabilities and neural disabilities. Compounded by guilt and stigma, more often than not, patients fail to talk to people about what they are going through and thus cases of multiple attempts to harm themselves.
What can we do to help those that are going through depression or anxiety or mental health disorders? Well, first and foremost, talk to them; listen carefully to their worries, don’t dismiss anything as too trivial. Most psychologists suggest communication as a major way to tackle some mental health disorders. Providing emotional support is also another way of helping patients. As a patient, communicate patiently with those around you so that they can at least help you or get you professional help.
Reproductive Health Matters (RHM) latest issue on Disability and Sexuality was co-produced by CREA. The issue focuses on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women with disabilities and features articles across different disabilities and regional experiences. This-Ability's was proud to be feature one of our "Faces of Diversity" photography series images on the cover. The project aim to create visibility for women with disabilities and challenging traditional stereotypes around gender, sexuality and disability.
Access the journal: tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09688080.2017.1345444
This-Ability is very proud to have played a supporting role in the writing and editing of this important guide, as one of the expert group participants.
"This guide is the result of an international collaborative effort spanning over 12 months. Its findings and recommendations are based on the following: desk research, a review of publicly available information, literature and case studies, ongoing consultations with an international multi-stakeholder expert group constituted specifically to advise on and shape the development of this guide, good practice examples submitted by companies across the world to the partner organizations, and an extensive global consultation with interested businesses and other stakeholders." (UN Global Compact; ILO, 2017)
International and national laws and treaties such as the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the Constitution of Kenya and the Kenya Disability Act of 2003 all provide for equality, non-discrimination and upholding the rights and dignity of women and girls with disabilities. The reality on the ground, however, tells a different story as women with disabilities are discriminated both as women and as persons with disabilities. This acts as a double curtain of invisibility and puts women and girls with disability in an especially vulnerable position in various areas of their lives including in family, employment and even living in the community.
In Kenya, and in many developing countries, women and girls with disabilities are subjected to multiple layers of discrimination. Based on their gender and disability they often face “double discrimination”. UNESCO estimates that 75 per cent of women with disabilities are unemployed, and if in employment, earn significantly less than non-disabled women. Studies conducted by organizations in Kenya show that women girls with disabilities face disproportionately higher rates of gender-based violence, sexual abuse, neglect, maltreatment and exploitation. Studies further show that women and girls with disabilities are twice as likely to experience gender-based violence compared to women and girls without disabilities. Women and girls with disabilities in Kenya are discriminated in the area of education as State sponsored schools do not have the facilities to ensure inclusive education and children with disabilities with high support needs are denied admission.
Leaving out the voice of women and girls with disabilities in many important national, regional and international discussions, laws, policies the Kenyan Government and women’s rights organizations fail to understand and therefore address the human rights violations and challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities.
Companies are using the unique talents of individuals with disabilities to create business value.
By Phyllis Heydt Mar. 2, 2015
Filiz used to work as an accountant. She was well liked by her peers and her supervisors, and yet something about the job didn’t feel right to her. “Being blind meant that it took me longer to complete tasks,” she says. “They were nice about it, and our team always reached its targets, but I felt terrible knowing that I was the one everyone waited for all the time.”
Eventually, she left her position, and today she is much happier, having embarked on an entirely different career. She now works for discovering hands, a German nonprofit that trains blind women in standardized diagnostic breast exam techniques and then places them in jobs in physicians’ offices or clinics. The nature of the work—helping to identify breast cancer as early as possible—gives Filiz great satisfaction, but there’s also something else: In this position, her blindness has proven to be an advantage. “I know I am better than most at this—in particular better than those who aren’t blind,” she says.
Data confirms her perspective. In Germany, discovering hands has found that visually impaired examiners find irregularities in breast tissue that are on average 30 percent smaller than those doctors find during regular exams. What’s more, they find 50 percent more irregularities than their sighted colleagues do. In light of this, it’s no surprise that a growing number of insurance providers and other payor organizations are contracting with discovering hands to reimburse the fee for this service.
A Compelling Business Case
That Filiz was employed prior to her work with discovering hands isn’t the norm. In fact, most of her colleagues at discovering hands were previously unemployed. Demir, for example, was forced to quit her job at a travel agency as her sight slowly deteriorated. She took on job training and learned Braille, but found that it was impossible to even get job interviews.
Situations like Demir’s are common: In the United States, more than 22 million of the 173 million working-age people are disabled, yet according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 20 percent of these individuals are employed. Countless charities and social initiatives have been wrestling with the challenge of finding meaningful jobs for disabled individuals for years with very limited success. And many companies that hire disabled workers do so only to fulfill promises of social responsibility; very few have arrived at a solution that creates satisfying employment and presents a compelling business case at the same time.
The good news is that more organizations seem to be finding the same sort of sweet spot as discovering hands has. Both software company SAP and mortgage lender Freddie Mac, for example, have identified people on the autism spectrum as having capabilities that make them uniquely suited for jobs such as software testing, debugging, and assigning customer-service queries. Nonprofit organizations Specialisterne and Auticon exclusively employ people on the autism spectrum as consultants in IT quality management. Rising Tide, a car wash in Florida dedicated to empowering people with autism, reports high levels of customer service as a result. And Chris Downey, a blind architect, draws on his unique perspective to realize environments that offer greater physical accessibility and enjoyment than standard design (watch his TED talk here).
Building on Success
These ventures are breaking new ground with sustainable business models for employing the disabled. But it shouldn’t be overwhelmingly difficult for other businesses to follow their example. Here’s what needs to happen:
Adopting business principles to advance disability rights and inclusion for women and girls with disability in Kenya